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Witch Hazel Health Benefits, Properties, and Uses

Witch Hazel

Scientific Name: Hamamelis virginiana

Common Names: Witchazel, Winter Bloom

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Mild sedative, Analgesic, Mild antibiotic

What is Witch Hazel?

Witch hazel is the common name for the winter-flowering shrub “hamamelis”. It’s also known as “winterbloom” and produces a show of spidery flowers in yellows, oranges and reds along with a spicy fragrance. 1 Witch hazel is native to North America and common in many gardens. Witch hazel uses and health benefits are long known by North America indigenous people for its medicinal properties and today we recognize witch hazel’s strong antioxidant and astringent properties.

Witch Hazel Health Uses and Health Benefits

Witch hazel’s natural antioxidants are perfect for killing bacteria that lives in the skin’s pores, stopping cellular damage that can lead to skin cancer, prevent signs of aging and speeding up healing. 2,3 When it comes to natural skin care, there may be no more effective plant than witch hazel. The bark, twigs and leaves are used to extract active constituents called polyphenols and tannins. They’re then added to either alcohol or water to make a concentrated product called witch hazel water, hamamelis water or distilled witch hazel extract. The extract can be used topically on the surface of the skin or taken internally as a witch hazel acne remedy. 3

Tannins are responsible for making witch hazel extract a natural astringent since they remove excess oil from the skin and are tremendously effective in local pain relief. This is the reason witch hazel is one of the most popular acne treatments and is a main ingredient in so many over the counter treatment gels, creams, lotions and washes. 3 Witch hazel extract is also considered polyphenolic and has been shown to help inhibit human cancer cell proliferation by stopping mutated cell cycles. 3 Witch hazel health benefits and uses are primarily for the skin and skin-related disorders. Commonly, witch hazel uses include:

  • Hemorrhoids -These are swollen, inflamed veins in the lower rectum. They occur for a variety of reasons that put pressure on the anus. The natural astringent property of witch hazel relieves pain and swelling associated with hemorrhoids.
  • Acne - Acne is the inflammation of pores caused by bacterial infection. As a natural antiseptic, witch hazel cleans the pores, kills the bacteria and speeds up healing. It’s considered the most effective acne treatment available.
  • Dandruff - Dandruff is dried flaky skin, usually on the scalp. A witch hazel wash or shampoo of the scalp works to heal the skin and stop dandruff.
  • Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) - Hyperhidrosis is caused by an elevated body temperature. Taken internally, witch hazel helps to control temperature and reduce sweating.
  • Insect Bites - Most insect bites are not poisonous; rather they are painful and especially itchy. A topical application of witch hazel extract quickly reduces swelling and stops the painful itch.
  • Varicose Veins - These are the swollen, twisted veins seen just under the skin’s surface. They’re commonly found on the legs. Compresses soaked in witch hazel extract are effective treatments for reducing varicose veins. Massaging the area with the compress also helps.

Witch Hazel Side Effects and Precautions

Most adults and children react well to witch hazel as a topical treatment and don’t experience any side effects. Some people may have an allergic reaction to witch hazel especially if they have sensitive skin or spend a lot of time in the sun. To be on the safe side, it’s best to do a test patch on the skin first. Put a small amount on an arm or leg and watch for a reaction. 3 Internally, witch hazel is safe even for pregnant women. Some report mild indigestion or heartburn but there are no known cases of a dangerous reaction to a regular dose. 3

References

  1. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=368
  2. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/withaz27.html
  3. https://draxe.com/witch-hazel/

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CuresDecoded worldwide community recommends Witch Hazel for:

Acne Highly effective
Dandruff Highly effective
Varicose Vein Effective
Shingles Effective
Skin Rash Effective
Skin Abrasion Effective
Boils Effective
Staph Infection Effective
Anal Itching Effective
Sunburn Effective
Itchy Ear Canal Effective
Genital Warts Effective
Acne Scar Effective
Itchy Scalp Effective

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